We have another guest blogger this week: Sue is an important member of the Jaspa’s Journey team and is often mentioned in my blogs (which isn’t surprising, given the fact she’s Rich’s wife and so we always travel together). But Sue also plays a crucial behind-the-scenes role in developing the stories and editing the books. In fact, Jaspa’s Journey wouldn’t even exist without her! So, take it away Sue…
Our most recent trip showed us new wonders of this huge and diverse planet we call home. Mother Nature provides us with so many different things to see and experience. Enough to keep us entertained for our whole lives, if we choose to take advantage.
What has also become apparent, and this is something we must never forget, is that Mother Nature is very powerful. She can be cruel and unforgiving. She doesn’t tolerate stupidity or carelessness. She doesn’t discriminate when choosing her victims. Weak or strong, old or young. And so, when on our adventures, we must be smart and vigilant, careful and prepared.
When approaching the Bright Angel trailhead at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, there is a signboard telling the story of a 24-year-old woman, Margaret Bradley, who completed (and placed well in) the 2004 Boston Marathon. Despite being at the pinnacle of physical fitness, Margaret perished in the Grand Canyon that same year. She set off on a 27 mile hike armed with only 1.5 litres of water, two energy bars and an apple. This was nowhere near enough provisions for such a long, strenuous hike in the blazing sunshine, where temperatures reached 41ºC (105ºF).
We noticed other visitors reading Margaret’s story, and overheard them surmising, “No matter how fit you think you are… you’re not.”
But I think they miss the point. The real message is this: No matter how strong you are, Mother Nature is stronger.
We experienced our own challenge three days after our visit to the Grand Canyon, on the morning we left Brian Head, Utah. The weather was horrific… a snowstorm we would never have considered going out in at home. And in southern Ontario, the roads are fairly straight and flat, not winding down a mountain with perilous drops on either side. But if we hadn’t ventured out in the storm early that Friday morning, we would surely have been stuck in Brian Head until the following Monday.
What to do? Common sense told us to stay put. Determination and experience told us, we can do this, let’s give it a (cautious) go.
Thankfully, we won this battle. We made it safely down the mountain by going slowly and carefully, all the while holding tight to a healthy respect for Mother Nature, which helps us make good decisions and keeps us safe.
We originally planned to call this blog something dramatic, like Mother Nature’s Fury. However, we eventually decided that, like the people reading Margaret Bradley’s sad story at the Grand Canyon, this was missing the point. Despite everything she is capable of, Mother Nature never experiences fury. Nor does she feel anger, or meanness, or sadness, or pain, or happiness, or compassion, or playfulness… or any other emotion, for that matter. Although we often refer to ‘her’ as a person, what makes Mother Nature so dangerous is that she doesn’t feel anything. She just is! So we have to be prepared for all her indifference.